BGOS NDP Media Release August 31, 2018
On August 23 a man drove up to the picket line, revved his engine, then released his brakes, scattering the picketers in front of him, but rolling over the foot of one woman, breaking it in three places.
On August 24, another man drove though the line in one entrance of the parking lot at the Centre and then went to another entrance and did the same thing. One woman required emergency care.
On August 28, a driver refused to stop at the picket line and ran over a man’s foot. And today, August 30, at least two people were hit by cars surging forward through the line. Fortunately, neither required emergency care.
In all cases, police were already on site. No charges have been laid.
“These incidents require a response,” said Matt Trowbridge, President of the Riding Association. “It doesn’t matter who you support in this long-running strike, we cannot, in a free and democratic society, remain silent when people who are practicing their lawful rights are being assaulted. We have been waiting for some sort of official response from the region’s leaders, but no one – not the mayor, the police, the MP or our MPP – has spoken against this violence.”
“We see these incidents, where people are using their cars to push through a lawful picket, as attacks on the rights of workers to organize, and of citizens to demonstrate,” said David McLaren, the NDP’s Labour Rep. “Whatever you think about unions and strikes, you don’t use your vehicle as a battering ram just because you don’t like what (or who) is front of you. Unhappily, I’ve seen this before. When no one speaks against attacks on people practicing their rights, it gives a kind of permission for more attacks. That’s what we’re seeing now.”
Using your car to hit people is also against the law. As an information sheet published by the Peel Regional Police Service says, “There is no specific time set that a vehicle can be held at a line. … Drivers are not allowed to force their way through a picket line. They may only proceed when it is safe to do so.” And yet, on social media and on video taken at the Medical Centre, drivers have expressed the opinion they have a right to drive through a picket line.
The ‘Rules of a Strike’ also point out that picket activity is protected under Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In view of the injuries already received and with concern for the safety of everyone on the line at the Medical Centre we urge …
- the leadership of our community speak against the assaults on citizens practicing their rights to protest and to picket the Medical Centre.
- the Owen Sound Police publish and promote the Peel Region Police Services’ ‘Rules of a Strike.’
- the Owen Sound Police investigate and lay charges where warranted in order to discourage people from bumping picketers.
- the striking employees and the FHO to go back to the bargaining table immediately to negotiate, in good faith, a fair settlement.
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For more information:
Matt Trowbridge, President Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound EDA, 613-914-2637
David McLaren, Labour Rep, 519-534-4107, 519-270-4333 (cell)
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